Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
Something to say?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The English Language

There are some words, fairly recent adhesions to the English language that  really get me going. They touch a nerve and start serious discomfort.

   Girl children? Did we not have a perfectly good word for that since long ago? Are they not girls any more when Aid agencies begin talking about them in connection with inequalities in educational access or Female Genital Mutilation  (FGM is too antiseptic a word to describe this particular horror - let us call it by its real name. This is only for females and it is genital and what happens is horrendous chopping up that some times kills them and leaves them forever handicapped. Sexually. I once asked an African man, an educated one in Malawi about it , and he said, 'If they get pleasure out of sex, they will be rampant. We won't be able to control them.' But then the same man told me his wife was 'loaded, when she became pregnant. I've still to get over that, nausea included.

   And - come to think of it - why does nobody talk of boy children in this connection or any other? So boys remain boys till they become men and we girls have a holding place till we become women. Like purgatory. Ah well!

   Mind you - the boy word has its own indignities connected to it if you have ever lived in Africa as an expatriate. In South Africa all African men were boys irrespective of their age. 'Boy!' the white bwana shouted and the ageing steward actually limped in to answer that command. All over Africa, North and South, this word was copied by many expatriates. 

   And in sport, I have noticed, the men are all 'boys' even if they are at the fag end of their sporting lives, Tendulkar, Steven Gerrard, those huge forbidding Rugby players that look like mountains - all boys.

Back to my favourite language: My writing group once said to me that we should , each of us, have a writing buddy. Buddy? Thank you, no. A writing partner, yes. But buddy I can do without. As I said, it makes me itch.

Then there are the nouns that have become verbs. Now you can access something on the phone or computer. Maybe even gain access? How many of these are we letting in? Soon I shall have serious confusions if I try to 'parse' a sentence. (That's a childhood pastime that has vanished.) The nuns insisted you had to find the verb and the subject pretty quickly, or else you were lost.

   I guess that is enough of a moan for a day about things most people take no notice of. It's me from another century being cantankerous as the old are expected to be.


1 comment:

  1. Here, here! As always, Anand, your writing and WORDS are invigorating! I LOVE to read your blogs.